My job expects me back to work next week. My spouse has an underlying condition and I am afraid I might bring the virus home to him. Do I have to go back to work?
If the underlying condition is serious enough that it rises to the level of a disability, then you are afforded some protection. Your employer cannot discriminate against you because you have a spouse with a disability. But, as far as not going back to work, I know of no law that would protect you if you refused to go back to work. OSHA requires employers in general to provide a safe work place in regard to known dangers. If someone at work tests positive for coronavirus, then the employer probably must provide some protection. But, if no one has tested positive at work, there may no law that requires the employer to offer any protection.
I was self-employed with my own business. Is there any way I can get unemployment benefits?
Yes, the CARE Act passed into law in March specifically added self-employed workers and independent contractors to the list of persons who qualify for unemployment benefits. See the TWC website here for more information.
I am receiving unemployment benefits. My boss wants me to come back to work. But, I am getting more in unemployment than I would if I went back to work. Can I refuse to go back and still keep getting my unemployment?
The CARES Act passed into law mid-March required states to waive the requirement that persons who receive benefits must look for work. Effective April 28, TWC said that any person who refuses to return to work will be ineligible to receive benefits. But, effective April 30, TWC loosened that restriction. Now, a person can turn down a call back to return to work and still receive unemployment if they fit one of these categories:
- The person receiving benefits is in the high risk category – aged 65 and older
- Someone in the home is aged 65 or older
- The person receiving benefits has been diagnosed with COVID19
- Someone in the home has been diagnosed with COVID19
- The person receiving benefits has been told to do a 14 day quarantine due to exposure to someone who tested positive
- Child care issues
See TWC website for more information. TWC adds that each case will receive individual review for specific situations.
My job wants me to come back to work, but I have two kids at home. They are not in school. Can I stay home to care for my kids until we can get child care?
Yes. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed into law in March provides that persons with kids at home because the schools are closed are entitled to up to 12 weeks of partially paid leave. This provision is in effect through Dec. 31, 2020. See TELA website here for more information.
I have to stay home for self-quarantine because a co-worker tested positive for the coronavirus. Is there any way I can get paid for that time?
Yes, under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed into law in March, a worker is entitled to 10 days of partially paid sick leave if s/he has to quarantine. See TELA website here for more information.